Takahiro Miyashita’s brand The SoloIst is on its 6th season and seems close to capturing the level of fanaticism that used to (and arguably still does) surround Number (n)ine. It is a position that has involved pushing for a bit more media exposure in magazines like Spade, but by and large has been won without any PR, presentations or fanfare whatsoever, the only curation in his showroom is a personally selected soundtrack and even his lookbook feels decidedly static and under-styled compared to his last (that featured the designer himself). Instead his clothes do all the talking required and are presented exactly as they are meant to be worn, which is an A-Z of Japanese layering in itself and makes use of every little possible chance for accessorization.
This season the designer’s concept was to make casual clothes for connoisseurs, with an adult feel. Thanks to that his primary colour is black, or blues and grays that are very close to black, broken up with earthy tones using the designer’s organic eARTh dyes. Takahiro Miyashita has also taken the opportunity to find colours that might not be natural matches for black in a man’s wardrobe, and thus we also find mints and lavenders thrown into the mix, although the official lookbook does seem predominantly earthy. The silhouette is likely to please fans with plenty of his quintessential proportions, but there is also an on-trend over-sized shoulders and waist combination (below-right) that keeps the brand subtly progressive.
It would not be a SoloIst collection without a huge number of collaborations and this is no exception. The silver jewelry is by Cody Sanderson, Authentic Shoe and Co are behind the leather shoes, Coeur are on the hats and Oliver Peoples are once again on the glasses. However this time we also see the highly hyped trainer collaborations with both Adidas and Undercover (separately), some of which you can see below, and doubtlessly will ensure that the brand stays in the eye of the media without going out of Takahiro Miyashita’s comfort zone.
Personally I always find The SoloIst to be unbelievably representative of what I see as the best in adult street style. The proportions, effortless layering and quality in every last detail is something I am always impressed by on the streets of Aoyama and Daikanyama, and it is pretty much encapsulated in this collection. Yes, this time round it feels a bit cleaner, but I am pretty sure you can style the last collection to look clean if you wanted to as well. The deconstructed tailoring and leathers have been given a slicker finish this time round, but I don’t think it is that much of a departure especially when you see the boiled wool and shirts blasted with tiny holes up close. Of particular note for me are the reversible “Poker Face” jackets which allow you to mix up your look during the day, and the raw edges on the leathers are always going to get my vote.
If anyone ever has a bad word to say about The SoloIst it is invariably on the subject of the pricing, which is admittedly high for such casual clothes. But what you have to remember is that you are literally getting perfection for your money, it may be a casual, street style, vintage-esque ensemble, but the colours, fabrics and “feel” is so perfect as to defy improvement. People don’t come to this brand because it is popular, they come to it because for what it does, it is the best.